• “Never did I think that I would be a in a crisis situation where the life-or-death task I would be given would be to make small talk with a drunk college kid.” —Kevin Carlin, The Moth
• “What if I said I was too tired?” —Vanessa Bayer’s response to Saturday Night Live producers when she was offered a job as a cast member, The Best Show On WFMU
• “We’d have great guests. Tom Cruise, Beyoncé—and then someone who threw up in a hot tub on the Real World. And they’d turn up the fog machine for them just as much.” —Damien Fahey on Total Request Live, Never Not Funny
• “David, I cannot believe how long it’s taking you to figure out this is a bit.”
“Maybe because it’s not funny in any way, shape, or form.” —Scott Aukerman and David Cross, Comedy Bang Bang
• “All this stuff that’s going on in the world today? You gotta be kidding me!” —Jerry O’Hearn (Andy Daly), The Sound Of Young America
• “But you don’t know how to fly a helicopter.”
“It’s like a car, right?”—Tom Scharpling and Rabid B. Hatchetman (Jon Wurster) on the ease of helicopter piloting
• “Before we go guys, do we want to do one of our famous Human Giant songs?” [Applause.] “There are no Human Giant songs!”—Paul Scheer, Doug Loves Movies
• “If you want to get to the top of that mountain, you can sit here on the bottom and you can wait for a fuckin’ ski lift that ain’t ever coming. You can wait for some superstar to pick you up in a helicopter and fly you up to the top. You can wait for somebody to come lift you and carry you on their back—which ain’t ever gonna happen. Or you can slowly but surely start walkin’ that motherfucker. It may be slow. It may hurt your feet. It may take forever. It may be not fun. It may suck. But eventually you will start to get up that motherfucker.” — Violent J, The Adam Carolla Show
• “I have no sympathy for people who get eaten by sharks, unless your boat sank… There was no reason to go out there.” —Bill Burr, The Adam Carolla Show
NEW (TO US)
The jokes fly fast and friendly in this week’s episode, which is devoted to the hosts’ favorite “sophomore surges,” i.e. second albums that exceeded the expectations set by their predecessors. Their picks fall in line with expectations (Lucy reps for both Pinkerton and Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model) while allowing for curveballs, like Francis’ well-reasoned and entirely sincere endorsement of Taylor Swift’s Fearless. The episode exposes some tiny holes in the show’s format (Costello’s “No Action” is accidentally played twice in the place of other songs) and, as iTunes commenters point out, the song clips could be higher in the mix. But the informal aspects of the ’cast are a major part of Rock Solid’s charm, and you definitely won’t hear a round of Lucy’s ingenious Pyramid take-off, The $25,000 Album Cover, emanating from the Sound Opinions studios any time soon.
Rarely do listeners witness the birth of a Scharpling and Wurster sketch idea, but in July 2009, Scharpling and Paul F. Tompkins railed for an hour against the bafflingly boneheaded, soon-to-be viral infomercial for the 10th annual Gathering Of The Juggalos. The following week, right on cue, there was a call from Rabid B. Hatchetman, a Faygo-swilling 36-year-old creep in clown makeup who gets arrested for stealing garbage and chastises Scharpling for disrespecting Shaggy 2 Dope. The Gathering wears its dunce cap so proudly that it almost defies parody, but Scharpling and Wurster succeed here by dragging the goofy, insular world of Insane Clown Posse into the goofy, insular world of Newbridge. The result is an episode that’s perfect for curious newbies and dyed-in-the-wool Friends of Tom alike.
Comedy Bang Bang #117: Can’t Never Did Nothing: David Cross, Ruben Fleischer
Doug Loves Movies: Aziz Ansari, Ruben Fleischer, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer
Hang Up And Listen: The Mike And The Mad Josh Edition
The Mental Illness Happy Hour #20: Gina Grad
Mike And Tom Eat Snacks #29: Hershey’s Take 5
Sklarbro Country #54: Josh Malina, Nick Kroll, Jason Nash
The Sound Of Young America: Bob Mould
The Sound Of Young America: Brooke Gladstone, Lee Unkrich, and more
Walking The Room #63: Sad Bottom And The Death Cult
Who Charted? #36: How Did This Get Made?
The Adam Carolla Show
The week in Ace, in order of descending interest: Insane Clown Posse provides the week’s motivational success story, and a reverent Carolla sits rapt as ICP recount building their DIY empire. The self-described “world’s most hated band” is harder to dislike one-on-one. Haters will snicker at the defense of “Miracles,” but may give grudging points for a discussion of whether critics give art a fair shake when they don’t like the artist. Kevin Pereira, host of G4’s Attack Of The Show, begins setting Ace straight on the cultural importance of geekdom, but the conversation morphs into a discussion of Ron Jeremy’s staying power and a round of Nerdwalking. After an hour of Ace anecdotes about little league and slow drivers, Bowling For Soup’s Erik and Jaret play an acoustic version of “1985” and the theme from the Disney Channel cartoon Phineas & Ferb. Comedian Bill Burr sits in for a rapid-shuffle conversation about Hilary Duff’s teeth, the Jersey Shore cast, shark attacks, and nothing about his guest role on Breaking Bad. Regular Dana Gould is the week’s non-guest, and he helps the crew riff on passing topics including the Planet Of The Apes franchise, rock-star movies, and the British riots.
The Apple Sisters #11: Money
The penny-pinching theme of “Money” was explored just three weeks ago in “Staycation,” though this week’s episode is considerably more bizarre. The guest is fashion expert Margot Honeydew (Alison Becker), a French woman who offers a line of melon-wear—as in shoes, hats, etc. made of melons. The bit doesn’t really come together, though at under 19 minutes, this episode at least ends pretty quickly.
The B.S. Report With Bill Simmons
After a 10-day layoff, Simmons returns with only one entry this week, but squeezes as much as he can out of his two guests: Grantland’s resident baseball expert Jonah Keri and NFL Network commentator Mike Lombardi. The sharp Keri is always a fantastic interview for baseball fans, and he doesn’t shy from giving Simmons grief over his Red Sox bias as they discuss the MLB season—boring or not?—and debate possible playoff expansion proposals. While Lombardi isn’t as sharp as Keri, it’s still exciting to hear about football and listen to him and Simmons break down the latest set of frantic team moves.
Culture Gabfest: “Hail Caesar” Edition
A below-average show finds the Culture Gabfest crew engaging in an insightful (and enthusiastic) endorsement of the new Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, but the other two segments tackle topics so big that the hosts are limited to vague pronouncements and generalities. A survey of the diminished state of book reviewing offers an incomplete picture of the current landscape. (Although Dana Stevens recalls one of the great critical disses of all time, via Dorothy Parker: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It must be hurled with great force.”) Then Carl Wilson comes on to discuss his fine New York Times magazine piece on the problems of Gen-X nostalgia, but it proves too abstract a topic to wrangle.
Firewall & Iceberg, #88: Press Tour, Strike Back, The Hour & More
Compared to last week’s ’cast, this week’s show is a far more detailed dispatch from the Television Critics Association press tour. Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg report from panels on Glee, Rescue Me, NBC’s period drama The Playboy Club, FX’s American Horror Story, and others. The punch-drunk critics shake off their haze for breakdowns of Cinemax’s buddy-action-spy series Strike Back, BBC America’s period drama The Hour (featuring The Wire’s Dominic West), and Breaking Bad, their favorite topic of the year.
How Was Your Week #22: Rave Withdrawal: Steve Agee, Bryan Safi
Julie Klausner returns to her semi-gay roots in this episode. First, she interviews Steve Agee (who isn’t actually gay, but portrayed one half a gay couple on The Sarah Silverman Program) about his favorite episodes of Three’s Company—it’s hard to get kitschier than that. Then she and Bryan Safi, of That’s Gay on Current TV, talk about his horrifying spider bite and the epic time he met Sharon Stone. Does a Real Housewives reunion get discussed? Perhaps.
Nerdist #113: Mike Birbiglia Returns
Mike Birbiglia’s second Nerdist appearance was taped a couple of months back, judging by his stumping for the Sleepwalk With Me album, released in April, and a brief discussion of the Anthony Weiner scandal. (Remember? Those were the days…) Timeliness issues aside, Birbiglia is a solid guest, attuned to the Nerdist vibe without really indulging its penchant for nerdy pop-culture ephemera. Instead, the conversation revolves mostly around comedy and performance, with meatier-than-usual digressions into politics and racism.
Never Not Funny: #910 Damien Fahey
Having a former host of Total Request Live as a guest might seem a dubious choice for Never Not Funny, but Damien Fahey proves to be a modest, affable guy who “gets it,” to use the parlance of Pardo. After playing around with Pardo’s new character, XM Radio host Stallone In A Bottle, Fahey details his schizophrenic lifestyle as a TRL host, wherein he hosted a countdown show for children during the day, then partied at night with his witty writer friends. Fahey and Pardo bond over concert mishaps and their love of “shit pussy-rock,” and Fahey closes out the episode with a couple of funny anecdotes: one about a crowd chanting “You’re a pussy!” when he opened a live Opie & Anthony show, and another about feeling honored to use Lindsey Buckingham’s bathroom.
Pop Culture Happy Hour: A Television Omnibus, Including Much That Is Regrettable
With Linda Holmes still off at the Television Critics’ Association summer press tour, Trey Graham hosts a significantly shorter than usual PCHH that covers why CBS’ reality show Same Name is stupid, plus a long-distance TCA interim report from Holmes. Weirdly, the episode’s core segment has Graham soliciting dream endings for Entourage, apparently mostly so he can spin his own elaborate, funny, highly specific fantasy about how the show should wrap up.
RadioLab: Shorts: Damn It, Basal Ganglia
RadioLab joins a young woman whose research into the functionality of the basal ganglia, the center of our brains that controls movement, ends up hitting far closer to home than she expected when the experiments she performed on mice seemed to replicate themselves in her own body. It’s a shorter than usual story, with a pretty obvious twist ending, but her description of how terrifying it was to lose control of her own movements illuminates how utterly strange it can be to poke around inside the brain and make it do tricks.
Uhh Yeah Dude #283
This week, Seth Romatelli celebrates receiving a $6 residual check from appearing in an episode of the short-lived ’90s series Hyperion Bay, and recalls watching that episode while working a catering gig—the kind of odd reminiscence that only the comedy-guy-podcast medium can make entertaining. Romatelli and UYD co-host Jonathan Larroquette usually do better than this week in terms of laughs, but this episode at least offers a bizarre mix of news and studies about panic attacks, nipples, and fake reviews on travel sites.
WTF With Marc Maron #198: Lucas Molandes
WTF episodes don’t get less intense than Marc Maron’s casual ramble through San Antonio alongside his buddy from the city, Lucas Molandes. The touring twosome have a funny extended riff on “frolf” (that would be “Frisbee golf” to outsiders) and what Molandes refers to as their “conga line of ignorance” concerning the city’s history, but this rambling, digressive chat is strictly for diehards only.
WTF With Marc Maron #199: Aubrey Plaza
Marc Maron and guest Aubrey Plaza eventually fall into a relatively natural rhythm, but listeners must first wade through an awful lot of stilted back-and-forth to get to the good stuff. Once they do, the Parks & Recreation star shares some revealing anecdotes, including the stroke she had at age 20, how her role as a comedian in Funny People led to a real-life sideline in stand-up, and a funny story about semi-stalking Fred Armisen while she was an intern on SNL.